Saw the new Ultra Light Howitzer down at Purvis Lines the other day with its new GTV, goddamn they both look sexy, however the ULH does look a bit flimsy and its odd seing a gun being towed round by its barrel, any thoughts anyone?
M777A1 155M ULTRALIGHTWEIGHT FIELD HOWITZER, UNITED KINGDOM
The Ultralightweight Field Howitzer (UFH), designated M777A1 in the USA, was selected in 1997 by a joint US Army / Marine Corps initiative to replace the existing inventory of M198 155mm towed howitzers. The first of five EMD systems was delivered in June 2000. The US Marine Corps is to procure 380 systems and the US Army 273 systems. A Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract for 94 systems was awarded in November 2002. Operational testing with the USMC, during which nearly 12,000 artillery rounds were fired by four production systems, was completed in December 2004. A contract for full-rate production of 495 systems was awarded to BAE Systems in April 2005 with deliveries to begin in late 2006. The British Army is also expected to order 65 systems and the Italian Army 70 systems.
The M777A1 has been developed by BAE Systems Land Systems (RO Defence, formerly the Armaments Group of Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd) at Barrow-in-Furness. United Defense LP of Pascagoula, Mississippi is responsible for final assembly, test and delivery of production systems for the US.
In July 2004, the M777A1 successfully completed a series of airlift tests with the US Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. The M777A1 was carried as an external load for a distance of 69nm.
The M777A1 is normally operated by a crew of eight men but can be operated with a reduced detachment of five.
The construction of the M77A1 makes extensive use of titanium and titanium castings, enabling a weight reduction of 3,175kg (7,000lb) compared to the M198 howitzer which it replaces in the US Army and USMC inventory. The titanium is supplied by RTI International metals of Niles, Ohio.
The M777A1 matches the firepower of current generation 155mm towed systems at less than half the weight. The Howitzer is equipped with a 39 calibre barrel. The muzzle velocity (at Charge 8 super) is 827m/s.
The maximum firing range is 24.7km with unassisted rounds and 30km with rocket-assisted rounds. The M77A1 will fire the Raytheon XM982 Excalibur GPS / Inertial Navigation-guided extended-range 155mm projectiles using the Modular Artillery Charge Systems (MACS). Excalibur will have a maximum range of 40km and accuracy of 10m. First firing trials of the M777A1 with Excalibur took place in August 2003 and Excalibur is for initial fielding in 2006.
The M777A1 is able to deliver up to five rounds per minute under intense firing conditions and is able to provide a sustained rate of fire of two rounds per minute.
The LRIP systems employ an optical sighting system for direct and indirect firing by day or night. Full production systems will be fitted with the General Dynamics Armament Systems towed artillery digitisation (TAD) system. LRIP systems will be retrofitted with TAD. The TAD digital fire control system provides onboard ballistic computation, navigation, pointing and self-location, providing greater accuracy and faster reaction times. The TAD system also includes a laser ignition system, electric drives for the howitzer's traverse and elevation and a powered projectile rammer.
The M777A1 has a production weight of 3,745kg and can be transported by helicopter, transporter aircraft and ship. The howitzer can be towed by an air-braked 4x4 vehicle greater than 2.5t.
The hydrostrut suspension system is provided by Horstman Defence Systems of the UK. The maximum towed road speed is 88km per hour and the towed cross-country speed is 50km per hour. The load on the towing eye is rated at 60kg. The towing ground clearance is up to 660mm.
The gun is too heavy - accepted - like FH 70 will need a massive gun tractor. The other thing is the ammunition. If people want to fly it, then they will need to buy 1) more helis and 2) more helis. Ammo is the heaviest logistical burden - helis coming out of the armys arrse will be needed to move it.